So cried John Merrick in the movie adaptation of The Elephant Man, cowering, huddled against the masses who tore off his mask and crowded in to gawk at his grotesque features. I watched that movie many years ago, and I can still hear that tormented cry.
Much more recently, I mused about the purpose of human existence in the universe, and what is it that separates us from animals.
I think I have part of the answer now.
We can control our emotions. We can avoid pleasures of the flesh. We can forswear love and all of its romantic entanglements.
We can convince ourselves that there is more joy to be had in classical music, in chess, in the study of languages and literature, in the pursuit of wealth and status, than in the simple basic warmth of a fellow human's embrace.